BY Mike Trombino
Hometown boy Billy Winn began writing songs when he was 12. Initially, he composed pop and R&B melodies. When he recorded them, however, he felt something was missing. A producer encouraged him to experiment with other sounds, particularly electronic and dance music. It clicked right away.
Today, Winn records a sound he dubs urban electro. It’s a mix of pop, heavy dance, R&B and a sampling of electronica.
Club fans are loving it. His first single, “Future X Boyfriend,” rose to the top 20 on Billboard last summer. This month, he presents his latest, a double-single release featuring two new tracks, “Cruel Intentions” and “He Won’t Do.” He performs both live Friday, May 1, at Town in D.C.
Are you excited to play your hometown of D.C.?
Extremely excited! I almost never get to perform here! The music scene in D.C. doesn’t have many dance/pop acts, so it’s always fun to perform and bring something different to the city.
Will this be your first time performing “He Won’t Do” and “Cruel Intentions” in D.C.?
I did one of D.C.’s festivals last October, and I played them there to test them out. The response was really great, so this will be the first time I perform them as featured numbers in my set.
What’s the story behind “Cruel Intentions”?
The song is about things I have allowed in past relationships. I’m trying to understand why I allowed them to happen. Generally, if I write about something, I am trying to understand it, so talking about it in my music is my way of analyzing and questioning it.
Is that the case with “He Won’t Do”?
Well, “He Won’t Do” is about that moment when you think to yourself, “I’m the shit”. It’s really cocky, sexy and fun. It tells a story about ex-lovers who are still kind of involved—something I think a lot of us can relate to.
Are you big on hook-ups?
Do you remember the first gay club you ever walked into?
It was a club called Pegasus in Pittsburgh. I was 15, and I got in because a friend of mine knew the guy at the door, so he just let us through. It reminded me of the movie “54,” with the music and the lights and just being my first real experience in a club, gay or straight. I remember standing on the upstairs level and looking down onto the dance floor at all these people going crazy whenever the music would change. I instantly tuned into how powerful a song can be, how it can move masses. It is honestly an experience that continues to inspire me to make dance music.
Did you hook up that night?
No, I didn’t. I was too overwhelmed with the whole thing, and I was really shy back then. I don’t even remember dancing that first time—just checking things out and getting my first glimpse into the nightlife.
How do Pittsburgh clubs compare with Town?
Town reminds me of those clubs, but on a much larger scale.
What do you love most about D.C.?
I moved to D.C. just after I turned 19, so in a way you can say I became an adult here. It’s a place that I can always call home. Even when I move away, D.C. will always be the place I come back to.
Billy Winn performs his new singles “Cruel Intentions” and “He Wont Do” at Town on Friday, May 1. For more information, visit
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